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World Breastfeeding Week is August 1-7
Start Date: 8/4/2014Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 8/4/2014
Entry Description

INDIANAPOLIS—World Breastfeeding Week, Aug. 1-7, serves as a reminder of the importance of breastfeeding to new mothers and babies. World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated internationally the first week of Aug. each year. This year’s theme, “A Winning Goal for Life!” highlights the importance of increasing and sustaining the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding.


In conjunction with the worldwide celebration, Governor Pence has proclaimed Aug. 1-7 as Breastfeeding Week in Indiana. The Governor has also recognized the important life’s work of breastfeeding advocate and founder of the Indiana Black Breastfeeding Coalition, Terry Jo Curtis. Terry passed away on Mother’s Day earlier this year.


In a recent letter to Terry Jo’s family and friends, the Governor said, “I believe Terry was a servant leader, and her service to her local community serves as a testament to her love for Indiana and passion for improving the lives of her fellow Hoosiers. Terry was a true role model for Indiana citizens, one who broke barriers and lived by the belief that understanding and compassion are the means to impact change.”

A special event to honor Terry Jo Curtis and celebrate Breastfeeding Week will be hosted by the Indiana Black Breastfeeding Coalition and the Marion County Public Health Department (MCPHD) today at the MCPHD’s Community Building from 9:30-11 a.m. State Health Commissioner William VanNess, M.D., and others will be providing comments.

Breastfeeding promotes overall health, growth and development of infants. It reduces infant death (known as infant mortality) by protecting the infant against infectious diseases. It has also been shown to lower the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Breastfeeding has many benefits, including reducing the risk of developing asthma, obesity, diabetes and other diseases in childhood and later adulthood. And the physical contact of breastfeeding provides comfort and security to infants.  

“A mother’s milk is the best nutrition for her baby,” said Dr. VanNess. “Infants who are breastfed are less likely to get sick or to become obese than those who haven’t. For premature infants, it’s the best defense against life-threatening infections.”

Mothers benefit from breastfeeding, too. Breastfeeding provides a quiet time for mothers to bond with their babies and decreases the risk of postpartum depression. Breastfeeding is also economical because there is no formula to buy and healthier babies mean fewer visits to the doctor. In addition, women who breastfeed have lower risk of ovarian and breast cancer, as well as type 2 diabetes.   

National estimates suggest that if 90 percent of U.S. babies were breastfed exclusively for six months, nearly 1,000 infant deaths would be prevented, and the nation would save $13 billion per year in healthcare costs. 

“Mothers want what is best for their babies, which is why it’s not surprising that breastfeeding is increasing in Indiana,” said Dr. VanNess. “We want to continue this upward trend. Breastfeeding our babies is an amazing weapon in the fight against infant mortality.”

According to the CDC Breastfeeding Report Card 2014, which was released July 31st, breastfeeding in Indiana jumped to 74.1 percent in 2011, up from 63.6 percent in 2010.

The many breastfeeding coalitions in Indiana provide local guidance and support with the implementation of policies which promote breastfeeding as a healthy practice and as the preferred method of infant feeding. The Milk Bank, formerly called the Indiana Mother’s Milk Bank, provides an opportunity for women to donate and receive breast milk for premature infants who often need it to maintain their survival.

To view the CDC Breastfeeding Report Card 2014, visit


To learn more about the benefits of breastfeeding or to read the Governor’s Proclamation, visit For important health information and updates, follow the Indiana State Department of Health on Twitter at @StateHealthIN and on Facebook at



Contact Information:
Name: Amy Reel
Phone: 317.233.7315
Entry Type:
Press Release
Entry Category:
  • Announcements
  • Category:
  • Family & Health
  • Agency Name
    Health, Indiana State Department of

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